Sunday, September 19, 2010

When the Dawgvent is a source of reason...

.....you know things are in chaos.

I'm still not in a good place to try and articulate my thoughts on the Dawgs right now, but this is a pretty good version of what I would probably say.

From the Dawgvent, of all places...click HERE.

Update: Looks like the message disappeared...here is what it said. (Again, this is from the poster HacksawDawg on the Dawgvent at UGASports.com)

Last week, I was furious. This week, I’m just sad. Sad that we have somehow allowed the program to deteriorate to this level, and recognizing just how far away we are from where we want to be. And it seems we were there just a moment ago.

I’m one who constantly struggles in thought between my brain, and my heart. My brain is very clear on where we are as a program and what may need to be done. My heart is equally resolute, but in stark conflict with the conclusions of my brain.

Surely though, being a rational and logically-minded type, my brain is the one to trust. Right?

I’m reminded though of a documentary I saw last year that observed people committing suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. It was shocking how deliberate these folks were. They seemed to have clarity of mind, and would calmly climb the bridge’s barrier, look down at their chosen fate, and willingly let go. Most died instantly on impact with the water.

But a handful miraculously survived. The documentary interviewed each of them, and they all revealed a common experience. None had made a rash decision - they had given suicide careful thought and came to their decisions over time. They were absolutely certain of their decision and at peace with it when they jumped. But to a person, every one of them said as soon as they let go of the bridge, they were overcome with a panicked regret of, “What have I done?”

I’ve given the current state, and direction, of our program a lot of careful thought. I’ve reached some conclusions that I believe to be rational and prudent. But not until this weekend, did I really get cozy with the reality of some of those conclusions. And when I did, I was overcome with that same panicked regret as those bridge jumpers.

Georgia Football is a passion of mine. I love and revere the program with all of my heart. And for a moment, you can rationalize making some big changes in the program as the tough love demanded from those who only want what’s best for the program.

But you know what? I spend most of my week thinking with my brain, and making decisions I wish I didn’t have to. And I love Georgia Football, in part, because for 12-14 Saturdays a year, I get to spend four hours seeing the world through the perspective of my heart, and my heart alone.

My heart is 100% behind Mark Richt.

Does he have some flaws as a coach? Yep, and many more than we may have once thought. They may even prove to be tragic flaws in due time.

Is he a “nice guy.” No - he’s more than that. He’s the finest man in college football, and I’d be hard pressed to name a finer individual I know, period.

There is the crowd that’s weary of the “nice guy” point. And I understand that, and acknowledge it’s valid to dismiss that point in the context of winning football games as a head coach. But Richt’s character and convictions do matter, and they do count for something. An awful lot in fact. I don’t think we’ll fully appreciate or understand the role of Richt’s character in our Georgia experience until he’s no longer our head coach.

I’ve commented many times on this board before that Mark Richt “gets it.” He understands the big picture. He understands what really matters in life, in his faith, and ultimately what you’d really regret, or not regret, when you take your final breath.

And I’m reminded this is…just a game. A game that plays a large role in our lives, certainly, but it would do many well to watch a closed scrimmage in Sanford. I was always struck by seeing the game for what it is when it’s stripped of 93,000 fans and all the hoopla and fanfare. It’s just 100 dumb college kids playing…a game. It doesn’t seem like a big deal at all when you witness it in that context.

Georgia’s program under Mark Richt IS different. We pursue a grander mission than just winning football games. We genuinely care about our kids. We really, really do. In everything we do as a football team, we are mindful of how it develops our kids into quality men. And that’s an experience many of our kids have never been afforded in their lives, and wouldn’t at any other program.

I can only speak for myself, but that’s a big, big deal to me. Our grander mission is the backbone of our program and a source of immense personal pride. It makes Georgia different, and in the most noble way possible.

I’ve always embraced that mission, and I’ve always dreamed of the day when we might win a National Championship under Mark Richt and prove to everyone that you can do it the right way and still get to the mountaintop.

I am committed to that grander mission. I’m on board. I think it’s that important.

I think the commitment to that grander mission is going to make it harder for us to win football games, and even more so in a cutthroat conference like the SEC. And it may even produce some valleys like the one we’re in now, where our commitment to that mission is really tested.

But like those bridge jumpers, I think we’re staring down at our fate and have a decision to make. Right now. Do we let go, or do we climb back over that barrier and go all in?

I’ve decided if I were to let go, I too would immediately panic, “What have I done?”

So I’ve made my choice, and it’s Mark Richt.

GATA.

5 comments:

Josh G said...

This is hard to say, but other than our players, I may actually be a bigger fan of Mark Richt than I am of any other aspect of the Georgia football team. I'm not a big fan of the students. There is a large portion of the fan base that I don't particularly like (like the guy who always sits behind me at games poo-pooing every thing that happens, no matter how well we're doing). I don't like Michael Adams, and I don't know McGarity.

I love the players. Most of these guys will never see a dime for all of the blood, sweat, time, tears, and injuries they endure, other than the free education. All for my entertainment for a few months a year.

Knowing how much I love our players, who do I want coaching them? Urban Meyer? Nick Saban? These are not men whose examples I would have my own children follow. These are not men who I would these players that I love to follow.

Will Richt win us an SEC championship or a National Championship every year? Probably not. Does he have the ability to win SEC championships and a National Championship? I am certain that he does. So, admiring and yes, loving the man the way I do, HE'S the guy I want to cheer for. Mark Richt's players are the players I want to cheer for.

If Richt were not our coach, would I still be a Bulldog fan? No doubt. Would I have as much passion for Georgia Football as I have had in the last 10 years? It is doubtful. Mark Richt and his players are my guys.

Go Dawgs.

Lynn said...

HACSAWDAWG AND JOSH G GOT IT RIGHT!!! NEED MORE OF THIS FROM THE TRUE DAWG FANS. GO DAWGS AND GATA!!!

Ginny said...

Love this post. Made my day.

Oh, and I watched that same documentary a few months ago. As twisted as it is, it made for a perfect analogy.

Brian said...

Great post. Go Dawgs!!!

Andy Coleman said...

Thanks for the post! It does put things into perspective, and reinforce why I love our coach! He'll make the needed changes in his time.